The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences welcomed its latest class of invitees at a record-breaking 928 people. This year marked the highest invitation of diverse artists.
The Academy has slowly but surely been trying to address the lack of diversity among their voting members, which was highlighted during the 2016 #OscarsSoWhite campaign. As a result of that, the AMPAS set a goal to double the number of diverse and female members by 2020 (hey, how about parity instead of doubling some pretty low numbers to begin with — just a thought).
This year notable invites include actors Kumail Nanjiani (who, along with Emily V. Gordon — co-writer of The Big Sick — was also invited to the writing category), Mindy Kaling, Tiffany Haddish, Dave Chappele, Randall Park, Daisy Ridley, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Olivia Munn, Kal Penn, Pedro Pascal, Gina Rodriguez, Sarah Silverman, Sofia Boutella, Ali Fazal, Doona Bae, Timothée Chalamet, Eugenio Derbez, Hong Chau, Ann Dowd, Taron Egerton, Danai Gurira, Q’orianka Kilcher, and Amy Schumer.
I profess to not 100% understanding what qualifies you for an invite to the voting body (many of the aforementioned actors have not been in Academy Award-nominated films), but no matter what, a diverse body of voters will hopefully help spotlight more diverse films come awards season.
Some other standout invites are J.K. Rowling, Jonathan Nolan, Kendrick Lamar, Sufjan Stevens, Michel Gondry, Angela Robinson, Chloe Zhao, and Questlove.
49% of the invitees this year were female, and if all invites are accepted it would mean that 38% of the new class would be a person of color — increasing overall representation up from 13% to 16% and overall female membership up from 28% to 31%.
Several Academy members shared their congratulations on social media.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) June 25, 2018
And invitees celebrated as well.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) June 25, 2018
This is all a great step in the right direction, but The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences still has plenty of work to do on the diversity front. Congratulations to the new Academy members — keep fighting for change!